Just because you have a dog doesn’t mean you have to stay home all the time. If you plan ahead and take a little care, it is easy and fun to travel with your dog.
Here are some tips to make the trip easier on both you and your pet:
1. Get your dog used to riding in the car by taking him on short trips. Go to fun places like the dog park, the fast food drive through (where you can feed him bits of meat from your burger), or to visit friends. You want him to think that trips in the car are fun. You don’t want your dog to think that all car trips end up at the vet’s office.
2. If your dog tends to get carsick, don’t feed him the morning of the trip. Having your dog travel with an empty stomach will help to prevent any car sickness.
3. Bring plenty of water and a water dish along. You will need to give your dog periodic drinks of water when you stop for a rest. It will be easier to get your dog to drink if it is familiar with water from home. Water in different places often smells or tastes differently, and your dog may not want to drink it.
4. Be sure to pack your dog’s food, treats, favorite bed, toys, and leash.
5. If your dog uses a crate, bring that along too. If you don’t have a large vehicle, you can buy crates that fold up. When you get to your destination, you can put your dog in his crate while you go somewhere that you can’t bring him along.
6. How should your dog travel in the car? Some dogs like to sit or lay on the seat, so bring a blanket to protect the upholstery. Other dogs may need to be kept in a crate in the car. Be sure the crate can’t slide around and scare the dog while you’re driving. You can also purchase dog seat belts to keep your dog safe while sitting in the car.
7. Make a stop every few hours to walk your dog and give him some water. Some dogs are frightened by the noisy trucks driving by, so try to walk in a quiet area. Be a good citizen and bring plastic bags along to pick up the mess.
8. If your dog is anxious about staying in a hotel or strange house at your destination, he might not eat or drink. You don’t want him to get dehydrated, so be sure to get him to drink, at least. You can mix chicken broth or gravy into the dog’s water. That will usually get him to lap it right up. You can mix chicken broth or gravy into the food too.
The first trip will be the hardest because your dog will not realize that you are coming back. With the first trip behind you, if you have taken the time to make sure it is pleasant for your dog, future traveling with your dog should be a breeze.